What a great week! With the celebration of Independence Day came opportunities to discover (and re-discover) some terrific wines. Not pictured below is a pretty fantastic wine, the Burgess Syrah - one which, like many Syrahs, is underrated and worth checking out.
2009 Burgess Cellars Syrah Napa Valley $25
Concentrated, pure Syrah. Brooding, dark, and with a savory, tarry edge. Finishes a mile long and then some. At five years old, it's just hitting its stride and is the current release. Wow.
2009 Ares de Medeiros Alentejo (Red blend) $12
Finally! The search for a good (and inexpensive) Alentejo red available in the US has finally turned up a winner. This strong, dense red is focused around a core of deep, dark fruit framed by moderate acidity and oak. Best with grilled food, but versatile, the blend of Aragonez, Touriga Nacional, and Syrah is a terrific value.
2012 La Merika Chardonnay Central Coast $10 Another label ginned up in a focus group for a mass production wine likely blended from sources on the bulk market. Still, it's a pleasant gulper, especially at this price. Plump, round, buttered, and oaked. Unsophisticated and (thankfully) requires no thought to enjoy.
2013 Bodegas de Fefinanes Albariño Rias Baixas $25 (Received as a press sample) Light bodied, but not light in flavor. Smooth, even, and refreshing. Plenty of Sauvignon Blanc similarities here - fresh green flavors and ample boisterousness. A terrific warm weather white wine that's equally at home on the front porch as it is with a good meal. Downside? The price tag.
2013 Borra Vineyards Artist Series White Blend $19 (Received as a press sample)
This complex white is as tough to pin down as it's label is unintelligible. Complex and layered with flavors that border - but do not cross - the demi-sec line. An unusual thirst quencher made of 50% Kerner, 25% Riesling, and 25% Bacchus. A wine geek's wine. From Lodi.
2012 Ventisquero Grey Pinot Noir Leyda Valley $24 (Received as a press sample)
Honest Pinot. Not opulent, not extracted, not terribly complex, nor Burgundian. Just honest, true Pinot Noir. Focused and unadulterated. Uncommon anymore. And very enjoyable.
2012 Ventisquero Grey Cabernet Maipo Valley $24 (Received as a press sample)
As feminine as Cabernet gets. Medium weight, supple texture, and a range of flavors as broad as a Latin woman's emotions. All Cab on the surface, but with lots of undercurrents: floral notes, uber dark subtext of savory game, and a lovely gentle oak frame. Feminine. Nice. Gone.